Imagine searching for clothes in a pile. Imagine hearing a bus pull up to a driveway. Imagine a backpack with folders and books. For a typical 5th grader, you would guess that there isn’t much to think of? For Sawyer Rubin, it is the absolute opposite.
A big focus in our household are life skills. Sawyer needs to develop the necessary tools to be independent and successful. It’s a partnership between school and us at home. However, it’s a process and one that is always situational. And let’s face it, it’s easier to do things for him.
With these simple tasks, it’s very difficult for me to remember who he is. When I see Sawyer, Autism is the last thing I see or think of. He’s just him and though he is autistic, I tend to not process through how a small task can be a difficult one.
When I see the clock turn 6:15 in the morning, I see 45 minutes before I leave. My elapsed time is ticking whereas his is thinking breakfast because that is how you start your day.
When I see 6:30, I see that he needs to get clothes. He and I look at a pile of clean ones. I see his, he sees a mountain of colors. This is when the aforementioned falls apart and the clock ticks as I’m hoping to get going whereas he can’t go anywhere.
This is when the tears pop. The panic sets in. The frustration mounts. Mind you that it’s 6:35 and when something like this occurs, the negative talk unfolds. It goes from “this is a big deal” to “am I in trouble?” It leads to missing the bus which doesn’t come for over and hour and a half to “I need to still read for homework!”
If this makes your heart race a bit, try living it a few times a week. And Sawyer isn’t the only child, he’s one of five. All of them have their thing but each is so different.
The most fascinating part of this is he is starting self regulate. He takes some deep breaths. He asks for help. We work together and as a family. Most importantly, he asks for help. If that isn’t the biggest life skill, I don’t know what is?